Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wow. A GF Pie Crust That's Really Good!

When November rolls around I want to bake pies. I'd like to bring a really good one for Thanksgiving dessert, but I confess my pie-making has really gone downhill in the last few years. When you're eating gluten free, pie crust is a challenge. It's not easy to find a decent recipe. All the same, I was seeing the glass half-full this week, so I got it in mind to make a rustic, free-form, French-style tart. I used this crust recipe developed by Helene over at Tartelette. She is a French ex-pat pastry chef, living in the US, and she's an amazing baker. Sadly for her, she had to go gluten free. No need to tell you that her loss is my (and many others') gain! She has come up with some beautiful gluten free pastry recipes. You can read all about them, and drool over her food styling and photography on her blog.

Because I can't get enough of cooked apples, I chose this recipe from Epicurious for the filling. It uses what I think are traditional French elements: the apples are tossed not with cinnamon, but with lemon zest and a little sugar. The crust is spread with a thin layer of apricot jam beneath the apples. I used Bonne Maman preserves - a little pricey, but delicious and not too sweet. This combination of flavors is new to me, and really good!
Still, I must face facts. This crust is tasty, but not fabulous enough to warrant all that extra folded up around the edges. Next time I'll make this in a tart pan, and keep the crust really thin. I think that will be just right.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Quilt for Addianna

In May, my nephew and his wife had a lovely little baby girl named Addianna. If my sister Anna were still living, this little girl would be her first grandchild.

I wanted to make something special for her. I didn't start the quilt until Addi was a few weeks old, and she's just received it - at around her six-month birthday. I'm sad that it's so late in arriving, but I really enjoyed making it. I think she'll still be able to make use of it.

It's my first real quilt. I've made a few pieced tops that I stitched onto store-bought comforters. This is the first time I designed, pieced, filled, quilted and finished a quilt - although I did it all on a sewing machine - not by hand. I used my mother's 1951 Singer Electric Sewing Machine, Class 15-91.

I have a baby quilt that my grandmother sewed by hand, while she was expecting my mother, her first child. It's yellow and lavender - gender neutral colors - because back then there was no way to know the sex of your baby until her arrival.

I chose fabric patterns and colors I thought a little girl might enjoy. I hope Addi will get lots of use out of this thing.

And here she is, my great-niece and her great-grandma, who just happens to be my mother. (Photo from Addi's mom Caty's Facebook photos.)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

She Likes It!

My friend and coworker Dave grew this cat grass at work, and sent me home with a pot for Miss Bettie.

She knew right away that it was for her . . .

I'd say the gift was thoroughly appreciated - by both of us!